Many people we talk with are stuck in unhealthy patterns in their relationships. Tolerating mistreatment, rescuing, being afraid to say no, needing to please, and getting enmeshed emotionally are boundary problems. They may be symptoms of Codependency.
God’s wisdom in the Scriptures helps us to strengthen our boundaries and get free of codependency. (All Scriptures are from the NIV84 unless otherwise noted.)
Our Heavenly Father loves to give good gifts to those ask
“Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened… Your heavenly Father [will] give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:7, 11b, NLT).
To live in abundant joy begins with asking and receiving from God
“You can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name… and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:23b-24, NLT).
Love the Trinity who love one another and you; love others as Trinity loves you
“‘The most important [commandment],’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12:29-31).
Look out for your own interests and the interests of others
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
God created your body and soul and he says you’re wonderful!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
Understand and appreciate your uniqueness – without pride or shame
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others” (Galatians 6:4, MSG).
We’re each important and have special gifts to serve others who need help
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well” (Romans 12:4-6, MSG).
Don’t rescue people – let them learn from the pain due to their irresponsibility
“A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again… Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger; if you try to make it better, you’ll only make it worse” (Proverbs 19:19, NIV84 & MSG).
Don’t give because you should or out of neediness, but because you want to
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly [grudgingly] or under compulsion [of necessity], for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7-9, NIV84; bracketed words are KJV).
God lets people learn from the natural consequences of their behavior
“A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7b-8).
The Bible is clear: No freeloading! Everyone must work to do their part
“Our orders – backed up by the Master, Jesus – are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us… Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.’ And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately – no excuses, no arguments – and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-8, 10-13, MSG).
Be straightforward to say “yes” or “no”; don’t use words to manipulate people
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).
Learn to say “no” and you’ll be capable of saying “yes” from your heart
“[Jesus said]. ‘Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, “Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.” The son answered, “I don’t want to.” Later on he thought better of it and went. The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, “Sure, glad to.” But he never went. Which of the two sons did what the father asked?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said, ‘Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him’” (Matthew 21:28-32, MSG).
You must be your true self before you can deny it and give it away in love
“Then [Jesus] said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?’” (Luke 9:23-25).
The way to comfort others is out of the overflow of God’s comfort to you
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Help the over-burdened learn to carry their own load and hold their head high
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load” (Galatians 6:2-5).
Elisha was burned out so he set his boundary and was renewed before resuming
[After Elijah relied on the Lord to defeat the false prophets at Mount Carmel and send rain to end the drought. Jezebel threatened to kill him and no one stood by him.] “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life… went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die… Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep… All at once an angel touched him… So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God… And the word of the LORD came to him… The LORD said to him, ‘Go back the way you came…’ Elijah went from there and found Elisha” [who became his attendant] (1 Kings 18-19).
Jesus set limits with needy people to spend time in prayer with his Father
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).
Jesus set limits with people so he could also minister to other people
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come’” (Mark 1:35-38).
The Apostle Paul received and appreciated expression of support
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it” (Philippians 4:10).